Monday, June 11, 2012

The U.S.: It's a Monsanto Government - June 11th, 2012

In the movie Inside Job, one person interviewed says the current U.S. government is now a "Wall Street government" because of the revolving door between the financial services industry and those that regulate the industry. This means that those in power are on the side of Wall Street. The same can be said for Monsanto, which is really a chemical company. Key figures in the regulatory bodies like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have, according to, "held important positions at Monsanto" before working in those regulatory bodies or have held them "after their biotech related regulatory work for the government agency." As a result, the government has become one with Monsanto in terms of favorable policy. The reason for this collusion was hinted at in Clifford D. Corner's book, A People's History of Science. Corner pointed out that government is often in collusion with those they are regulating.

The problems of Monsanto have been highlighted by activists especially with the prominence of the internet in social activism. But, the real focus on genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) and genetically-modified (GM) food began a while ago. Simply, GMOs can be defined as new organisms created by altering DNA of existing organisms; an attempt to make an organism desirable. More and more people are concerned about GMOs because the effects on health are unknown, they could create super-bacteria, such organisms could be allergic to certain genes and it is possible all foods could become toxic. In the movie, Food Inc., one farmer cleaned his seeds of GMOs (he grew non-GMO crops, but everyone around him had them) and was sued by Monsanto for supposedly violating their patent.

In recent times, these problems have not been solved because of the revolving door with GMO companies. In the Obama Administration, connections with Monsanto have intensified. A U.S. government initiative published in 2010, the "Southern Africa FY 2010 Implementation Plan," calls for "the need for increased cooperation [on] GMOs through support of a harmonized regional bio-safety framework, standardized regional sanitary and phytosanitary measures, and trade" including "national-level implementation of the harmonized system [to] increase trade and private sector investment in seeds across the region and allow smallholder access to improved seeds."

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